Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

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Strawberry Cheesecake Bars are easy to make and ever so delicious! A rich and creamy sour cream cheesecake filling is swirled with a homemade strawberry sauce topped on a thick graham cracker crust. These dessert bars are so dreamy and they taste like summer in every bite! If you don’t have time( or the patience!) for a traditional cheesecake –  no worries! This cheesecake bar recipe is super simple, there isn’t a water bath required, and it will be the best part of any meal!

Cut strawberry cheesecake bars on parchment paper.

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Cheesecake has to be one of my top favorite desserts! Sour cream cheesecake with homemade strawberry sauce is an ideal dessert no matter the occasion! This strawberry cheesecake bar recipe is basically a regular cheesecake and that amazing strawberry sauce put together. Fresh or frozen strawberries are cooked down with cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice then it’s swirled in the cheesecake filling just before baking. It’s pretty and you get strawberries in every bite!

This recipe comes together in a regular square cake pan so there’s no need to create a water bath. 

3/4 view of cheesecake bars on pieces of parchment paper with strawberries and a cup of tea near by.

Recipe Ingredients

Overhead image of cheesecake ingredients on a table.
  • Graham cracker crust – It’s super easy to make a graham cracker crust at home. All you do it crush the graham crackers in a food processor then mix with melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. From here press it into a cake pan then bake for 5 minutes. 
  • Sour cream – I love to add sour cream to the cheesecake filling. Not only does it add a slightly tangy flavor, but it helps to lighten the filling so it isn’t overly dense. 
  • Eggs – Adds structure to the cheesecake and helps to bind all the ingredients together. 
  • Cream cheese – Use full-fat cream cheese so your cheesecake will be even richer and delicious. 
  • Strawberries – Fresh or frozen strawberries are chopped and then cooked to make the strawberry sauce. It adds such a delicious pop of fruity flavor to these rich and creamy cheesecake bars. 
  • Cornstarch – A must! It thickens the strawberry sauce nicely!

How to Make Cheesecake Bars

All ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Strawberry sauce

  1. Start by combining the strawberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar together in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and allow the strawberries to get juicy and slightly soft.
  2. Stir in the cornstarch then continue cooking until your sauce has thickened. From here, removed from the heat then allow the sauce to cool. 

Graham cracker crust

  1. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until they are very fine. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl along with melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir until everything is combined and it looks like wet sand.
  2. Line a cake pan with parchment paper then transfer the graham cracker mixture to the cake pan pressing it down evenly but firmly with a cup. Bake for 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. 

Cheesecake filling

  1. Mix the batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until light and fluffy. Next add in the sugar mixing until well combined. Now add in the vanilla bean paste, sour cream, lemon juice and salt mixing until well combined. Lastly, add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides then mix one more time. Don’t overmix, just until all the ingredients are combined. 
  2. Swirl. Pour cheesecake filling onto the graham cracker crust, spreading it out evenly. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Now gently pour strawberry sauce over the cheesecake filling. Use a skewer or cake knife to gently swirl the sauce. Don’t mix it in too much because you want to see the swirls. 
  3. Bake the cheesecake in the center of a preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly when gently shaken. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside with the oven door slightly open for 30 minutes, then allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature. Chill for at least 4 hours before slicing and serving. 

Tips and Trips

  • Use parchment paper. It can be hard to get the bars out of the pan after you bake them so I like to line the cake pan with a piece of parchment paper long enough so that it has some overhang.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. This is especially important for the cream cheese. It must be very soft, otherwise, you’ll end up with chunks of cream cheese in your bars, which isn’t what we want! Try to take the cream cheese out several hours before you are ready to bake. 
  • Get perfect cheesecake slices every time. Run a sharp knife under hot water for several seconds then wipe the knife dry. It will slice the cheesecake like butter. Wipe clean then repeat for perfect slices!
Cut cheesecake bars on parchment paper with a fresh strawberry nearby.

How to Store/ Make Ahead

Refrigerator. After they’ve cooled cover the cake pan tightly with plastic wrap then store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Freezer. Allow the bars to cool and chill completely in the fridge, slice into desired slices then place on a sheet pan to freeze uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can skip the pre-freezing step then go straight to wrapping and freezing) Now wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap then store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Unthaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy them!

Make the strawberry sauce in advance. You don’t want to put warm strawberry sauce on the cheesecake filling, so make it at least 30 minutes in advance, or even a couple of days to make prepping everything faster. I like to make the bars the day before I want to serve them so they get a chance to chill and firm up overnight in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions  —

How do you cut cheesecake bars neatly?

Run a sharp knife under hot water for several seconds, wipe the knife dry then slice. Repeat after every single cut so that you achieve perfectly neat cheesecake bars. 

How do you know when the cheesecake is done?

Because the cheesecake will continue to cook even after it comes out of the oven you aren’t looking for it to be completely set before taking it out. The cheesecake is done when the edges are set and are very lightly browned. The center should be jiggly when gently shaken. It will fully set as it cools in the oven and at room temperature. 

Do I have to use the strawberry sauce?

No not at all! These bars will be just as amazing without it! I have made plain cheesecake bars then served the strawberry sauce on the side. You can serve it plain, with fresh fruit or whipped cream. It’s totally up to you!

Looking For More Recipes?

Sour cream cheesecake with sour cream topping

Banana bundt cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

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Cut cheesecake bars on parchment paper with a fresh strawberry nearby.

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 9 bars
Calories: 300kcal
Cost: $20

Equipment

Ingredients

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham crackers crushed or 7 ounces
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Cheesecake filling

  • 2(8 ounce) blocks full-fat cream cheese room temperature softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream room temperature
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions 

How to Make Strawberry Sauce

  • If using frozen strawberries allow them to thaw slightly, then roughly chop into pieces. We don’t want them to be too big.
  • In a small sauce pot add chopped strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Cook on medium-low for 20 minutes or until the strawberries cook down and release their juices. Next quickly stir in cornstarch until well combined, allow to cook until thickened then remove from the heat. Allow to cool then transfer to the fridge while you make the cheesecake. You should have about 1/2 cup. 1 cup strawberries 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon cornstarch

How to Make Graham Cracker Crust

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until it is very fine. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl along with melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Stir until everything is combined and it looks like wet sand. 1 1/2 cups graham crackers 5 tablespoons melted butter 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 pinch salt
  • Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper, make sure it overhangs so you can grab it after it bakes, then transfer the graham cracker mixture to the cake pan pressing it down evenly but firmly with a cup. Bake for 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.

How to Make Cheesecake filling

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Next, add in the sugar mixing until well combined. Now add in the vanilla bean paste, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt mixing until well combined Scrape down the sides. Lastly, add in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides then mix one more time. Don’t overmix, just until all the ingredients are combined. 2(8 ounce) blocks full-fat cream cheese 1 cup granulated sugar 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste 1 cup full-fat sour cream 1 teaspoon lemon juice ⅛ teaspoon salt 2 large eggs
  • Pour cheesecake filling onto the graham cracker crust, spreading it out evenly. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Now gently pour strawberry sauce over the cheesecake filling. Use a skewer or butter knife to gently swirl in the sauce. Don’t mix it in too much because you want to see the swirls.
  • Bake the cheesecake in the center of a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the edges are set but the center is still slightly jiggly when gently shaken. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside with the oven door slightly open for 30 minutes, then allow the cheesecake to cool completely at room temperature. Chill for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight before slicing and serving.

Notes

How to Store/ Make Ahead

Refrigerator. After they’ve cooled cover the cake pan tightly with plastic wrap then store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Freezer. Allow the bars to cool and chill completely in the fridge, slice into desired slices then place on a sheet pan to freeze uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can skip the pre-freezing step then go straight to wrapping and freezing) Now wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap then store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Unthaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter at room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy them!
Make the strawberry sauce in advance. You don’t want to put warm strawberry sauce on the cheesecake filling, so make it at least 30 minutes in advance, or even a couple of days to make prepping everything faster. I like to make the bars the day before I want to serve them so they get a chance to chill and firm up overnight in the fridge.
Get perfect cheesecake slices every time. Run a sharp knife under hot water for several seconds then wipe the knife dry. It will slice the cheesecake like butter. Wipe clean then repeat for perfect slices!

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 208mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 411IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutrition information is automatically generated and should be only used as a rough estimate. This recipe card may contain affiliate links.

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